1858 and 1859 United States House of Representatives elections

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United States House of Representatives elections, 1858 and 1859

← 1856 August 2, 1858 – November 8, 1859[Note 1] 1860 / 61 →

All 238[Note 2] seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
120 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  William Pennington portrait.jpg ThomasSBocock.png
Leader William Pennington Thomas Bocock
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat New Jersey-5th Virginia-5th
Last election 90 seats 133 seats
Seats won 116[Note 2] 98[Note 3]
Seat change Increase 26 Decrease 35

  Third party Fourth party
  John Adams Gilmer - Brady-Handy.jpg Henry Winter Davis.jpg
Leader John Adams Gilmer Henry Winter Davis
Party Opposition Know Nothing
Leader's seat North Carolina-5th Maryland-4th
Last election 0 seats 14 seats
Seats won 19 5
Seat change Increase 19 Decrease 9

Speaker before election

James Orr
Democratic

Elected Speaker

William Pennington
Republican

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 36th Congress were held in 1858–1859 during James Buchanan's presidency. Following these elections, the Republicans won the most seats in the House for the first time, benefiting from the continued breakdown in the anti-immigration and anti-Catholic American Party of the Know Nothing Movement, and from strife within the Democratic Party.

The Republicans were actually 4 seats short of a numerical majority and were forced to form a minority government, but were able to exercise authority with assistance from members of the two smaller parties also elected to the House. The deeply divided Democrats continued to fall apart due to the slavery issue, losing a number of seats. The American Party all but collapsed as immigration became a less prominent issue and because of the party's vague stance on slavery. Southern politicians opposed to secession, Whigs who had been dissatisfied with the Republican Party during their short membership, as well as some former Know-Nothings, came together and ran on the Southern Opposition Party ticket (not to be confused with the Northern Opposition Party of 1854 which was opposed to the spread of slavery into the new territories),[1] which generally allied more with the Republicans than Democrats.

For several states, this was the last Congressional election until the Reconstruction Era, and 29 of the Representatives elected in this election resigned near the end of the Congress following their states' secession from the Union.

Special elections[edit]

There were special elections in 1858 and 1859 during the 35th United States Congress and 36th United States Congress.

35th Congress[edit]

District Vacator Reason for Vacancy Candidates
Representative Party First elected
Illinois 6 Thomas L. Harris Democratic 1854 Incumbent died.
New member elected January 4, 1859.
Democratic hold.
Winner was not elected to the next term.
Massachusetts 7 Nathaniel P. Banks Republican 1852 Incumbent resigned December 24, 1857 to become Governor of Massachusetts.
New member elected January 31, 1858.
Republican hold.
Daniel W. Gooch (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing.]
Mississippi 5 John A. Quitman Democratic 1855 Incumbent died December July 17, 1858.
New member elected October 4, 1858.
Democratic hold.
Winner seated December 7, 1858.
John J. McRae (Democratic) 99.08%
Scattering 0.92%
North Carolina 8 Thomas L. Clingman Democratic Incumbent resigned May 7, 1858 to become U.S. Senator.
New member elected August 5, 1858.[2]
Know Nothing gain.
Winner seated December 7, 1858.
Zebulon B. Vance (Know Nothing) 57.02%
William W. Avery (Democratic) 42.98%[2]
Pennsylvania 8 J. Glancy Jones Democratic Incumbent resigned October 30, 1858.
New member elected November 30, 1858.[3]
Republican gain.
Winner seated December 7, 1858.
Winner did not run for the next term, see below.
William H. Keim (Republican) 51.98%
Joel B. Warner (Democratic) 48.02%[3]
New York 4 John Kelly Democratic Incumbent resigned December 25, 1858.
New member elected January 4, 1859.[4]
Independent Democratic gain.
Winner was also already elected to the next term, see below.
Thomas J. Barr (Independent Democratic) 96.89%
Scattering 3.11%
Oregon at-large New state New member elected February 14, 1859.
Democratic gain.
Winner did not run for the next term, see below.
La Fayette Grover (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing.]

36th Congress[edit]

District Vacator Reason for Vacancy Candidates
Representative Party First elected
Ohio 14 Cyrus Spink Republican 1858 Incumbent died May 31, 1859.
New member elected October 11, 1859.
Republican hold.
Harrison G. O. Blake (Republican) 56.17%
Neal Power (Democratic) 43.83%[5]
Illinois 6 Thomas L. Harris Democratic 1854 Incumbent died November 24, 1858.
New member elected November 8, 1859.
Democratic hold.
Virginia 4 William Goode Democratic 1853 Incumbent died May 31, 1859.
New member elected October 27, 1859.[6]
Democratic hold.
Winner seated December 7, 1859.
Roger Pryor (Democratic)
Thomas F. Goode (Democratic)[6]

Election summaries[edit]

One seat was added for the new states of Kansas[7] and Oregon[8] which were unrepresented for most of the 36th Congress. For several Southern states, these were the last congressional elections they took part in until Reconstruction.

116 19 5 98
Republican Opp. KN Democratic
State Type Date Total
seats
Republican Democratic Opposition Know-Nothing
Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change
Special election(s), not counted in totals below
Oregon At-large June, 1858[Note 4] 1 0 Steady 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Kansas[Note 5] At-large December 1, 1859 1 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
General elections
Arkansas District August 2, 1858 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Florida At-large October 4, 1858 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Indiana District October 12, 1858 11 7 Increase2 4[Note 6] Decrease2 0 Steady 0 Steady
Iowa District October 12, 1858 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maine District September 13, 1858 6 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Missouri District August 2, 1858 7 1 Steady 5[Note 7] Increase1 0 Steady 1 Decrease1
Ohio District October 12, 1858 21 15 Increase2 6 Decrease2 0 Steady 0 Steady
Pennsylvania District October 12, 1858 25 20 Increase10 5[Note 8] Decrease10 0 Steady 0 Steady
South Carolina District October 10–11, 1858 6 0 Steady 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Vermont District September 7, 1858 3 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Delaware At-large November 2, 1858
(Election Day)[Note 9]
1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Illinois District 9 4 Steady 5 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Massachusetts District 11 11 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Michigan District 4 4 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
New Jersey District 5 3 Increase1 2[Note 10] Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady
New York District 33 26 Increase5 7[Note 11] Decrease5 0 Steady 0 Steady
Wisconsin District 3 2 Decrease1 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Late general elections (After the March 4, 1859 beginning of Congress)
New Hampshire District March 8, 1859 3 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Connecticut District April 4, 1859 4 4 Increase2 0 Decrease2 0 Steady 0 Steady
Rhode Island District April 7, 1859 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Virginia District May 26, 1859 13 0 Steady 12[Note 12] Decrease1 1 Increase1 0 Steady
Oregon At-large June 27, 1859 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Alabama District August 1, 1859 7 0 Steady 7 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Kentucky District August 1, 1859 10 0 Steady 5 Decrease3 5 Increase5 0 Decrease2
Texas District August 1, 1859 2 0 Steady 2[Note 13] Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
North Carolina District August 4, 1859 8 0 Steady 4 Decrease3 4 Increase4 0 Decrease1
Tennessee District August 4, 1859 10 0 Steady 3 Decrease4 7 Increase7 0 Decrease3
California At-large September 7, 1859 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Georgia District October 3, 1859 8 0 Steady 6 Steady 2 Increase2 0 Steady
Mississippi District October 3, 1859 5 0 Steady 5 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Minnesota At-large October 4, 1859 2 2 Increase2 0 Decrease2 0 Steady 0 Steady
Louisiana District November 7, 1859 4 0 Steady 3 Steady 0 Steady 1 Steady
Maryland District November 8, 1859 6 0 Steady 3 Steady 0 Steady 3 Steady
Total[Note 2] 238 115
48.5%
Increase25 98[Note 3]
41.4%
Decrease35 19
8.0%
Increase19 5
2.1%
Decrease9
House seats
Republican
48.5%
Democratic
41.4%
Opposition
8.0%
Know-Nothing
2.1%

Complete returns[edit]

California[edit]

Note: From statehood to 1864, California's representatives were elected at-large, with the top two vote-getters winning election from 1849 to 1858; in 1860 when California gained a seat in the House the top three vote-getters were elected.

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Status Candidates
California at-large
(Seat 1)
Charles L. Scott Democratic 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
California at-large
(Seat 2)
Joseph C. McKibbin Anti-Lecompton Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.

Ohio[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates[9]
Ohio 1 George H. Pendleton Democratic 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 2 William S. Groesbeck Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 3 Clement L. Vallandigham Democratic 1856[Note 14] Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 4 Matthias H. Nichols Republican 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Ohio 5 Richard Mott Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Ohio 6 Joseph R. Cockerill Democratic 1856 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.
Ohio 7 Aaron Harlan Republican 1852 Incumbent lost renomination.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
  • Thomas Corwin (Republican) 63.8%
  • Charles W. Blair (Democratic) 36.2%
Ohio 8 Benjamin Stanton Republican 1854 Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 9 Lawrence W. Hall Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 10 Joseph Miller Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 11 Albert C. Thompson Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Ohio 12 Samuel S. Cox Democratic 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Samuel S. Cox (Republican) 51.8%
  • Lucius Case (Democratic) 48.2%
Ohio 13 John Sherman Republican 1854 Incumbent re-elected.
  • John Sherman (Republican) 57.1%
  • S. J. Patrick (Democratic) 42.9%
Ohio 14 Philemon Bliss Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
  • Cyrus Spink (Republican) 56.3%
  • J. P. Jeffries (Democratic) 43.7%
Ohio 15 Joseph Burns Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 16 Cydnor B. Tompkins Republican 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 17 William Lawrence Democratic 1856 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 18 Benjamin F. Leiter Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Ohio 19 Edward Wade Republican 1852 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Edward Wade (Republican) 65.1%
  • J. W. Gray (Democratic) 34.9%
Ohio 20 Joshua Reed Giddings Republican 1842 Incumbent lost renomination.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Ohio 21 John Bingham Republican 1854 Incumbent re-elected.
  • John Bingham (Republican) 57.3%
  • Thomas Means (Democratic) 42.7%

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Excludes states admitted during this Congress
  2. ^ a b c Includes late elections
  3. ^ a b Includes 8 Anti-Lecompton Democrats and 7 Independent Democrats.
  4. ^ New state. Representative seated February 14, 1859, less than a month before the end of the 35th Congress.
  5. ^ New state. Representative seated January 29, 1861, and continued into the 37th Congress.
  6. ^ Includes 1 Anti-Lecompton Democrat (IN-07).
  7. ^ Includes 1 Independent Democrat (MO-02).
  8. ^ Includes 2 Anti-Lecompton Democrats (PA-06 and PA-08).
  9. ^ In 1845, Congress passed a law providing for a uniform date for choosing presidential electors (see: Statutes at Large, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, p. 721). Congressional elections were unaffected by this law, but the date was gradually adopted by the states for Congressional elections as well.
  10. ^ Both Anti-Lecompton Democrats
  11. ^ Includes 1 Independent Democrat (NY-04) and 3 Anti-Lecompton Democrats (NY-08, NY-09, and NY-14) – see Martis, pp. 112–113.
  12. ^ Includes 4 Independent Democrats (VA-03, VA-06, VA-09, and VA-13).
  13. ^ Includes 1 Independent Democrat (TX-02).
  14. ^ Contested election

References[edit]

  1. ^ See The Kansas-Nebraska act
  2. ^ a b https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=232166
  3. ^ a b https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=537134
  4. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=725486
  5. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/ContainerHistory.html?ContainerID=598
  6. ^ a b https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=720671
  7. ^ 11 Stat. 11- 269 269
  8. ^ 11 Stat. 11- 383 383
  9. ^ Smith, Joseph P, ed. (1898). History of the Republican Party in Ohio. I. Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 84, 85.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]